We don’t have to namedrop here, but we can probably all guess who these companies are. The FTC went on to provide examples of illegal language, presumably in place by the companies put on notice, although each company’s language and fine print probably reads a bit different:
- The use of [company name] parts is required to keep your . . . manufacturer’s warranties and any extended warranties intact.
- This warranty shall not apply if this product . . . is used with products not sold or licensed by [company name].
- This warranty does not apply if this product . . . has had the warranty seal on the [product] altered, defaced, or removed.
Additionally, Thomas B. Pahl, Acting Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, had this to say:
“Provisions that tie warranty coverage to the use of particular products or services harm both consumers who pay more for them as well as the small businesses who offer competing products and services”
Companies who received notice are being asked to review their promotional materials and warranty terms in respect to the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act and revise them to comply with the law; the unnamed companies will have 30 days for correction and compliance.
This is undoubtedly a win for right to repair advocates and consumers alike, albeit a small one. It is our hope that the FTC will follow through and continue to set such precedents.
- Eric Hamilton